Dark Souls is one of gaming’s most prolific series and certainly one of my favourites. In fact, it has had such a large impact that it’s spawned its own subgenre. There are many experiences that mimic that same brutal tactical gameplay, coming under the “Souls-like” genre. While not all capture the same magic, some of them are absolutely excellent, and here are five of the best Xbox alternatives to the mighty Dark Souls.
If you’re looking for a little more sci-fi to go with Souls then The Surge might be the experience your looking for.
Set on a futuristic facility that’s been overrun, you play the part of a newly arrived employee that has to fight their way through in order to find out what has happened. While the combat is very similar to the Souls games, the major addition is the ability to cut individual limbs off enemies, collecting new equipment depending on what limb you take out.
It features a myriad of imaginative enemies and weapons that are incredibly satisfying to use, and it helps that there is a great sense of weight and contact every time you kill an enemy.
I’m a huge sucker for The Surge and it has to be said that this was the first game that came to mind when I was looking to cover the best Dark Souls-like titles on Xbox. And once you’re done with the original there’s always The Surge 2 to enjoy too.
Ashen has a gorgeous minimalist art style, but alongside that the gameplay is charmingly likewise. It takes all the fundamentals of Souls gameplay and tries to make a deeply focused experience without all the fluff.
Set in a world without a sun, your character is found searching for a way home. As you explore the open areas, you fight enemies and occasionally difficult bosses. Other players will seamlessly join you throughout, similar to the concept used in Journey.
There is not a focus on stats though, with everything much more dependent on equipment; the better gear you have, the more powerful you become.
Ashen takes everything from Dark Souls and boils it down to the perfect essentials, delivering a great bite-sized version of what we know and love.
Lords of the Fallen
When Lords of the Fallen originally released it received relatively poor reviews, with much of the issue being its very close likeness to Dark Souls. That criticism is true and, more than any other game on this list, Lords of the Fallen is the closest to its inspiration.
It has an admittedly mediocre fantasy setting, a fairly tedious story and a lack of original ideas, however I think it got an unfair shake and, while it’s not the most memorable, the combat is really quite good.
Lords of The Fallen has some great enemies and fantastic weapon design. It offers a neat variety in the feeling of weapons to choose from and each one changes your playstyle significantly. There’s an excellent sense of weight to every strike and every encounter is incredibly satisfying.
Think of Lords of the Fallen as like your very favourite comfort food and all will be fine though. It’s not very thought provoking or crazy, but it’s a great way to spend an evening.
Hollow Knight was a huge critical success when it was released. It is a deeply atmospheric metroidvania that is largely inspired by Dark Souls in its epic bosses, resource management and difficult combat.
Set in the strange world of Hallownest, a world that is inhabited by bug-like creatures much like the Souls series, it’s excellent in the way it slowly reveals its lore and story through the environment and tiny details. It’s a deep dive that is both creepy and exciting.
Its combat is fast paced and constantly evolving, allowing it to stay engaging throughout the whole experience.
Blasphemous is an excellent metroidvania that released earlier in 2019. Deeply inspired by the Souls series, it features similar checkpoints, bosses and health mechanics.
You traverse an open explorable 2D world that is absolutely gorgeous, destroying these wildly inventive and challenging bosses. Slowly as you progress you gain access to new abilities and more health items, similar to Estus Flasks.
The art style and wonderful music creates a dark and brooding world that is a joy to explore and I had an absolute blast reviewing Blasphemous, discovering that it was near impossible to put down. This is definitely an indie hidden gem that is worth checking out.
So, there we have it. If you’re looking for your next Dark Souls hit then these games will most certainly sort you out. Have you already played any of them? And if so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments.